The year that was…

Time to sum up the year that was 2020…..

The last three months felt like a whirlwind. There was a flurry of activity, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

In October we celebrated Book Week and despite it being delayed this year, it was truly heartening to see it marked across the country in its usual splendor. Personally, this year, Book Week for me was a highlight. I got out of my comfort zone again and had the opportunity to visit a number of local schools, something I had pushed aside the past few years thanks to my little friend ‘fear’ who crept in. I had so much fun doing school visits, being around enthusiastic students and teachers was such a thrill. Their joy was infectious and I left each school beaming. Being able to share my stories and passion for literacy directly with my audience was truly moving, it is why I do what I do –  trying to live my purpose as boldly as I can, hoping to inspire others to do the same. A huge thank you to the schools that had me as part of their festivities. Your warm welcome meant the world to me and filled me with the courage I need to do more visits in the future. This year I had the great pleasure of visiting my daughters school. Sharing moments with my little girl during Book Week was such a delight, after all this whole journey began because of her & the miracle she is  – I’ll forever be grateful to my daughter.

November was a brief moment of calm. A month I used for planning and catching my breath before the blitz of December. It was wonderful to be invited to judge the children’s category of the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards again this year. During November my daughter and I nestled together to read some fabulous stories penned by local Canberra creatives. It was very challenging to come up with a shortlist, there was some remarkable stories and I commend all those who entered. Working with my co-judge, Leanne Barrett, was a wonderful experience too. It was nice to be able to discuss each entry at length and learn from each others’ insights and experiences. A huge thank you to the ACT Writers Centre for facilitating these award and their continuous support to Canberra authors.

As the year came to a close, so too did the incredible Mighty Playwrights Project coordinated by the Goulburn Mulwaree Library. The Project teamed up 11 young writers aged 10-12 years with a mentor over a 6 month period to develop a short play. The plays were then performed by professional actors at the Lieder Theatre Company and filmed as part of a documentary series. The Project has been so dear to me. It was a privilege to be involved. Attending the gala premiere screening in December was so special. I am very proud of all the Mighty Playwrights and I’m very grateful to the budding writers who I had the immense honour of mentoring, they’ve inspired me in so many ways & have taught me a great deal – I’ll treasure the fun times we had creating.

The last official event for the year was the Aussie Kids: Meet Matilda at the Festival Book Launch. This was another magical moment for me. It was a dream come true writing Matilda’s story as part of the Puffin Books Aussie Kids series. I felt a great flow with this book – doors opened magically and the stars truly aligned. I really wanted to celebrate this book, this massive dream come true, with those who continuously cheer me on, my beautiful friends and family. Due to the timing of this books release and what was going on in our world, a launch event didn’t seem like it would be possible, but again, out of the blue, a fabulous opportunity presented itself. I was invited to launch Matilda at the National Capital Exhibition a few weeks before Christmas – a Christmas miracle you might say! It was a lovely event. I appreciate all those who came along and supported me through. I was so happy that I could have the books illustrator, the very talented, Tania McCartney attend as well. Tania showed us how she drew Matilda and brought this story to life through her fabulous illustrations. The morning was the perfect way to acknowledge this book and wrap up the year.

As we say goodbye and farewell to 2020 my heart is filled with immense hope. Hope for a brighter New Year. A brand new start that brings tremendous joy and the highest of highs. Although 2020 was a turbulent year, it taught me a lot about gratitude. It was a year of lessons. I feel I have transformed through 2020 and I am hoping this transformation will help me as I continue on my chosen path – wherever it may lead. I hope we all continue to learn and grow through 2021. Wishing you all a safe and happy new beginning.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTHS

My happy place 💜 I had so much fun visiting schools this past Book Week & sharing moments with my little girl 💜After all this whole journey began because of her & the miracle she is 🌟 I’ll forever be grateful 💗

Lights, camera, action! 🎟🎥 Being part of the Mighty Playwrights project through the Goulburn Mulwaree Library was such a wonderful experience – a true highlight 🌟 I’m beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to be a mentor to some very talented, conscientious & creative young writers.

A huge thank you to ABC Canberra for having me on their drive program. It was lovely to share some of my summer reading picks with a great panel.

Thank you again to everyone who came along to celebrate the release of Meet Matilda at the Festival 🥳 This book is very dear to me & I’m beyond grateful to all those who have supported me throughout this chapter 💜 It was a lovely way to wrap up the year!

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